Huge increase in fake taxman email scams

A huge increase in the number of fake emails pretending to come from the taxman has prompted a fresh warning for online users to be on their guard against fraud.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has been alerted to nearly 75,000 “phishing” emails over the past six months – an increase of 70% on the same period a year ago.
The scam emails usually come with a promise of a tax refund. People who are tricked into believing the emails are genuine are then asked to provide personal details, such as a date of birth, bank details and a mother’s maiden name.
This information is then used by crooks to fraudulently access the victim’s accounts.
But HMRC never contacts people about tax refunds via email, so any such message you receive will be a scam – no matter how professional and realistic it looks.
The taxman is fighting back, though. It said it had helped close down more than 4,000 rogue websites behind the scams over the past six months.
“If you receive an email which claims to be from HMRC, and which offers you a tax refund, we recommend you send it to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and then permanently delete it,” said Steve Singh, of HMRC’s digital security team.
“We can, and do, close these websites down and we continue our efforts to work with law-enforcement agencies around the world to bring down the criminals behind these scams.”